Search Manic Mark's Blog

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Variety Talent - Song Poem

Soul Power (Sullivan)
Time Was (Grestick)
The Butterfly Of Japan (Donaldson/Dickey)
Variety Talent
Hit Records International Presents: Variety Talent
Frank Bishop - Howard Reed - Allen King Keller

Jamaican Drums - Royal Steel Band Of Kingston, Jamaica

The Breeze And I
Jamaican Drums
Royal Steel Band Of Kingston, Jamaica
Adventures In Sound
Columbia WL 121
1958

Originally sold in 1958 for $4.95.

Mambo Mento
Habanera
The Breeze And I
Toselli's Serenade
Montego Jump-Up
Jamaica Jump-Up
Marche Militaire
Schubert's Serenade
Soja Man
The Peanut Vendor
Minuet In G
Mango Walk

Friday, August 26, 2011

Batman And Other Super Men - The Revengers

Our Man Flint
Batman And Other Super Men
The Revengers
MGM Records M/MS-565
1966

Super duper stuff from a mystery band.

Love Me Tonight - The Windmills Of Your Mind

Secret Mission
Love Me Tonight
The Windmills Of Your Mind
Dolph Scott
Diplomat DS 2475

I can't find any info on Dolph Scott.  This could be the only record he made.

The music is a curious blend of easy listening/lounge piano blended with pop/jazz accents. It has a 60s private press small combo lounge vibe to it.

Yellow Bird - Jamaica Duke & The Mento Swingers

Jamaica Calling
Yellow Bird
Jamaica Duke & The Mento Swingers
Dynamic Sounds Recording - Jamaica - SLP 004

Autographed by Jamaica Duke (Reginald Kirten) - 24 Feb. 1972

Terrific island music made special with clarinet/banjo/violin accents.

For Men Only

Pepper Hot Baby
For Men Only
Arranged and Conducted By Lew Raymond
Tops L1583
1957

Jane Mansfield cover. Mansfield won a Golden Globe in 1957 for New Star Of The Year – Actress beating Carroll Baker and Natalie Wood. In 1959 her mainstream film roles had dried up but she continued to make low-budget films and stay in the public eye until her death in a car accident in 1967.

The record, of course, isn't"naughty". This is pop recording featuring decent unnamed studio vocalists.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Astromusical House Of Virgo

Satisfaction
The Astromusical House Of Virgo
Arranged and Conducted by Ed Bland
Astro Stereo 1006
GWP Records
1969

Apparently GWP released a set of records based on astrological signs in 1969. This is the first one I've run across. Each LP in the project features a different arranger/conductor.

T covers features a groovy chick decked out in some period costume. This outfit is credited to Oscar De La Renta. The jacket is a gatefold with pages of copy attached to the spine written by "world renowned" astrologer, Carroll Righter whose photo is featured predominantly on the back cover.

The music, for the most part, is dreamy, well executed easy listening. The cover of Satisfaction is the one "rocking" track. My question would be whether or not the arranger was tasked with creating a musical "vibe" that suited the "sign" or was the concept created simply as a trendy way to market a series of easy listening records?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Musical Essay On Dixieland Jazz - With The Eight Balls

A Musical Essay On Dixieland Jazz
With The Oleika Eight Balls
Lemco 701

A recording celebrating the roots of Jazz (Funeral Music). Each track gets a brief introduction.

The record features a terrific cover signed by all the members of the Eight Balls!

From the back cover: The Eight Balls formed as a specialty Dixieland group in 1957, and, as all are active members of the Brass Band, they are not recognized as an official unit of Oleika Temple (Lexington, Kentucky). The group is completely self supporting and, as unofficial Goodwill Ambassadors of Oleika, play only for Shrine and Masonic functions.

Members of the group have been honored by a number of special awards, including being commissioned as Kentucky Colonels by the Governor Of Kentucky; receiving the Order of the Braying Burro from Past Imperial Potentate Barney Collins; being appointed, in Spring 1970, Honorary Mayors of the City of Bessemer, Ala., by Past Potentate Jess Lanier, Zamora Temple, the official Mayor.

Sounds Of Today - 101 Strings

I'm A Man
Sounds Of Today
101 Strings
Alshire S-5078
1972

From the back cover: Played by the world's largest orchestra hit songs from the era of soul, psychedelia and the new generation – over 130 players "turned on" with the songs and sounds of today – the most astounding "trip" ever to be taped.

101's Astro-Sounds may be 101's most astounding "trip", but this LP comes in a close second. This is a great light pop album with a fun psych edge.

Monty Kelly is credited for the arrangements, and if I'm reading the song credits correctly he wrote four of the tunes (Stone Baroque, Karma Sitar, Blues For The Guru and Strings For Ravi).

Bravo Hi-Fi - Howard Hanson

Cuban Overture
Bravo Hi-Fi
Howard Hanson
Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra
Olympian/Mercury MG 50166
1958

Here we have an obscure three track orchestral album. Track titles include: Cuban Overture/Gershwin, Mexican Rhapsody/McBride and Latin-Amercian Symphonette/Gould. This is a fun album that wins you over first with the fab cover art and then the music, which has a nice period pop flavor to it.


The Magic Of The Caribbean - Herbert Spencer And His Orchestra

Voodoo Moon
The Magic Of The Caribbean
Herbert Spencer And His Orchestra
Decca Records  DL 9080
1960

Here's an example of "what was the record label thinking"? When I find jackets that cost a small fortune to produce, the first question I ask is why did the label think that this recording was worth the cost of the packaging. Or was it just time, in the minds of those in charge, to invest in a "trend"?

The LP comes in a heavy gatefold jacket with a die-cut cover (the hat shape is punched out of the cover). There are three nicely designed pages fixed to the spine the feature 4-color and 2-color printing.  Decca paid Richard Joseph, Esquire Travel Editor, to write the copy which is a somewhat dry history of the region.

The album is constructed in such a way to be a "concept" album... meaning that the tracks blend into one another, bridged mainly by canned sound effects.  The track I selected from side 2 may be the most "exciting". None of the tracks, in my opinion, mutually support one another so the effort to create a "seamless theme" is lost.

As you can tell from the sample, Decca at this time was competing against the likes of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman along with a host of other artists and labels who were milking the folk and exotica trends and a tough market to crack with this product.

Havana... 2 A.M. - Jose Madeira

Amorsita
Havana... 2 A.M.
Jose Madeira and his Orchestra
Carlos Montoya, Guitarist
Masterseal
1957

This is a split set. One artist is featured per side. Montoya is well known and his stuff is likely available for purchase/download. Madeira seems to have made a few LPs but is lost to history. The sample is from the Madeira side.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tropical Nights - Werner Muller And His Orchestra

Poinciana
Tabu
Tropical Nights
Werner Muller And His Orchestra
Telefunken TPS 12521

Werner Muller recorded some terrific space age albums including Percussion In The Sky. This album features mainly space age light pop and several nice "exotica" covers as sampled above.

The Left Bank Bearcats in Hi-Fi

The Left Bank Bearcats in Hi-Fi
Somerset P-8300
1958

We do not feature Dixieland Jazz up here in The Atomic Attic, but we couldn't help but fall in love with this great illustration!

The tracks are available purchase/digital download.

Bossa Nova - Volume 2 - Manolo Escobas

Reverie
Bossa Nova
Volume 2
Manolo Escobas
Palace Records M 740

Nice cover for the budget label, Palace. Manolo Escobar, according to his wiki page, is a Spanish singer. I can't tell you if any of the tracks can actually be attributed to him. The tracks are obviously cobbled together from a number of sources.

Love Can Make You Happy - The Ray Bloch Singers

Elusive Butterfly
Love Can Make You Happy
The Ray Bloch Singers
Ambassador S98085
1969

Ray Bloch made some pretty incredible records back in the day. Take a listen to samples from his albums Hair and Hits of '69.  This record is no less amazing...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Robert Roker & The Calypso Playboys

Obeah
Robert Roker & The Calypso Playboys
Recorded Live On Norwegian Caribbean Lines
The M/S Southward
Art Records Manufacturing Company, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
SLP-319

Hit Themes From Foreign Films - International All Stars

Hit Themes From Foreign Films
International All Stars
Phase 4 Stereo
London SP 44020
1962

From Billboard Magazine (June 23, 1962): A thoroughly compelling excursion in quality pop wax.

Billboard loved this record. Me, on the other hand... I was expecting something sexy and maybe a bit 60s "secret agent-like".  You know... like the cover suggests.  I didn't get that.

This is a high quality recording, but the orchestra fails to fire up the space age rocket.

Moods Impressions Fantasies

Percussion Fantasy
Moods Impressions Fantasies
Featuring Stanley Black: Percussion Fantasy
New Concert Orchestra - Nat Nyll, Conductor
VOX VX 25-270
1957

Nice early "percussion" album featuring an extended piece written by Stanley Black. Black would go on to release a fine album titled Exotica Percussion in 1961. This could have been a "concept" album for Vox, but only Black's piece and Liter's Two Southern Impressions/Rhumba support each other, the title and cover art. The remaining tracks are standard fair for the time.

Side One:

Band 1
Percussion Fantasy (Stanley Black)
A. Caribbean Festival
B. Chinese Show
C. A la Marcia
D. Congo Invocation & Dance
E. Spanish Scena
F. Dolly's Bedtime
G. Ritmos do Brasil

Band2
Jota (Monia Liter)

Band 3 Savior Faire (Fredrick Curzon)

Side Two

Band1
Two Southern Impressions (Monia Liter)
A. Bolero - Montuno
B. Cadenza - Rhumba

Band 2
Aperitif ( Douglas Brownsmith)

Band 3
Impressions of London ( Ronald Binge)
A. Piccadilly
B. Lambeth
C. Westminster
D. Fleet Street
E. The Tower
F. St. Paul's

Band 4
Rhumba ( Monia Liter)

Bongo Fever - Jack Costanzo At The Garden Of Allah

The Garden Of Allah Bongo
Bongo Fever
Jack Costanzo At The Garden Of Allah
Liberty LST 7109
1959

Terrific small combo Latin flavored album recorded live at Hollywood's Garden Of Allah Club.

Check out Mr. Bongo's myspace page for up-to-date information and additional smoking tunes.

The Garden Of Allah was a famous get-away for celebrities which closed in 1959. Read more about the Hotel complex on Hollywood Lost And Found.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Latin Party Rhythms - Ruth Wallis


Latin Party Rhythms
Ruth Wallis
Wallis Original Record Corp. W4-LP
1949

10 inch 33 rpm on red vinyl. Many or all of the tracks are available for purchase/digital download. Wallis made a name for herself singing risque, satirical songs. Wallis managed to deliver the material she wrote, backed by a studio band, in such a way that her songs sounded like any other decent pop tune of the period, until you focused on the lyrics which were loaded with double enterdre.

Read more on her wiki page.

Julie Driscoll

Julie Driscoll
Spring Board SPB-4043
1976

This is my first exposure to Driscoll. I purchased the album because of the make-up job and the "downer" song titles. I thought something had to be happening on the vinyl. And what a terrific vocalist Driscoll is. After reading her wiki page I find out that since the 70s she "concentrated on experimental vocal music".

There is a note on the jacket that the tracks "have been perviously released". You can tell that side two tracks were release somewhat earlier than side one and tend to be more "60s" while side one tracks are more "emotive", foreshadowing, if I may be so bold, New Wave song writing and vocal trends. Side one tracks are available purchase/digital download. I couldn't find side two tracks online. However, it's probably best that I don't post a sample.

I Know You Love Me Not
I Didn't Want To Have To Do It
If You Should Ever Leave Me
Don't Do It No More
I Don't Know Where You Are
Shadows Of You
Baby Take Me
Baby, Baby

12 Smash Hits - The Enoch Light Singers

Valleri
12 Smash Hits
The Enoch Light Singers
Total Sound Project PR 5021 SD
1968

This is one of the LPs Light released after he sold Command to ABC. He was still using cover designer, Charles E. Murphy. Murphy designed this cover. As a designer myself, I find, what must be a pink gloved hand with a ring blurred in front of the model's mouth to be very odd.

The album, as you can tell from the sample, is stocked with groovy 60s easy listening covers of pop songs.

Wonder What She's Doing Tonight
I Say A Little Prayer
Green Tambourine
It Must Be Him
Love Is Blue
Ode To Billy Joe
Valleri
Somethin' Stupid
Kiss Me Goodbye
Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Theme From "Valley Of The Dolls"
Up Up And Away